BRASILIA: All doubts over whether Manaus will be ready to welcome the World Cup finals in 2014 have been resolved, apparently writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, during an unbeat assessment of preparations for this year’s Confederations Cup, next’s year main event and the Rio 2016 Olympics, cast aside concerns over the new stadium in the Amazon Basin capital.
Rebelo expressed his confidence in a wide-ranging interview in which he talked up transport and accommodation arrangements, security, finance and power provision.
Fears over the Arena da Amazonia had been raised by Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general and World Cup progress-chaser, on the eve of the Confed Cup draw in Sao Paulo at the end of November.
Valcke had warned that if Manaus were not brought back on schedule then it would be dropped later this year from the World Cup schedule.
Rebelo, however, is more optimistic.
Asked by this writer about Manaus, he said: “I was speaking yesterday with the governor of the state of Amazonas who is responsible for the stadium.
“The information given to me by the governor is consistent with that from the construction company and technicians of the Ministry of Sport: their final message is that the stadium will be delivered on time for the World Cup.”
Rebelo, speaking with just over 500 days to go to the World Cup, recalled that the Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte stadia had been delivered in November and reported that Rio’s Maracana and the venues in Brasilia, Salvador and Recife would all be ready in April.
He also boasted that “81pc of the infrastructure work was ready or in progress” but had to admit, under questioning, that only 20pc could be considered completed.
In an assessment to surprise outside observers Rebelo said that airport capacity would be “double the demand forecast for that period in 2014” and that hotel chains’ only fears were having too many rooms rather than too few.
Generators on standby
As for concerns over power cuts, all stadia would have their own emergency generators and an extra factor for confidence of an outage-free World Cup was the fact that many matches would be played in the afternoon.
Rebelo said that up to one million volunteers would be drawn from a wide variety of organisations throughout the country including from
Schools, armed forces, churches, youth clubs, unions and indigenious communities.
He added: “There is a lot of enthusiasm for volunteer work in Brazil. It’s not just practical work. We are offering emotional capital as well, a welcome to the world that is not just material but spiritual in nature – a chance for Brazil to welcome the world with open arms.”
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